Getting Started for Students

The following information is a summary to help you get started in Canvas. 

Quick Links


First-time Login 

  • You can access Canvas using your JHED and password through Canvas at JHU main page. If you need help logging in for the first time, follow the Canvas log-in guide. If you need help logging in, contact the IT help desk: Report a problem online or call (410) 516-HELP. 
  • For new students, we recommend making sure you have already set up your JHU email account prior to accessing Canvas to make sure you receive vital notifications. Canvas notifications are sent from [email protected]. In your profile settings, this typically uses ([email protected]) format.
  • When you first log in to Canvas, you will see a pop-up.  You can accept the conditions, and complete your log in. 

Getting Help

Why don’t I see my Canvas course?

There are a number of reasons why you might not see your course in Canvas. Follow the “why don’t I see my Canvas course?” guide for steps to find your course in Canvas.

Contacting Your Instructors

Inbox (also called Conversations) can be used as an in-Canvas email system. Inbox is a two-way messaging tool used instead of email to communicate with members of a course, a group, or an individual user. You can communicate with other people in your course at any time. Check out the Inbox guide.

Canvas Mobile App

Canvas Student allows students to access their courses and groups using a mobile device. Students can submit assignments, participate in discussions, view grades and course materials. The app also provides access to course calendars, To Do items, notifications, and Conversations messages. 

  • Follow the student mobile guide to install the Canvas Student App and connect it to your JHU account.
  • We do not recommend using a mobile browser on your phone (e.g., Safari, Chrome).
  • The global navigation menu is located at the left side of the screen and is visible from all pages. It contains links to your Account, Dashboard, Courses, Calendar, Inbox, History, and Help. Depending on your role in Canvas you may see additional links on the menu.  
  • In-depth Global Help Menu


  • The Dashboard is the first thing you will see when you log into Canvas. The Dashboard helps you see what is happening in all your current courses. More information is available in the Dashboard Guide. 
  • If you can’t see your course on your dashboard, you should see it under all courses instead; courses will shift when each new term courses are created. You can manage what courses show on your dashboard by following the Canvas guide on customizing my Courses list as an student.

Course Navigation

The Course Navigation Menu is a series of links on the left side of your course that help you and your students access different course areas. The Course Navigation Menu is always visible on its respective pages. In-depth Video for Navigation

Visit the How do I use Discussions Redesign as a student for details on update course discussions.

Personalizing Canvas

Profile Photo 

  • Images should be square in size to prevent your picture from being resized or distorted. Files can be any type (.jpg, .png, .gif) or size as long as you have room in your personal files to store the file. Canvas recommends that your profile picture be as small as possible. 
  • In-depth Profile Photos Guide. 

Chosen Name

Your chosen name needs to be set in myJH portal and then it will update in Canvas. For more information on updating your name, visit the JHU’s Chosen Name page.


  • If you have updated your pronouns in your directory information on myJH, they will update in Canvas in most cases.
  • When setting up your pronouns in your directory information, if you selected “other” and typed your pronouns, they may not be shown in Canvas. You can then set your pronouns in Canvas directly. (Despite this limitation, it is still recommended to set your pronouns in the directory since they will update in numerous systems).


Canvas includes a set of default notification settings you can receive for your courses. However, you can change the default settings by setting your own notification settings. These settings only apply to you; they are not used to control how course updates are sent to other users.  

Time Zones 

If users have set a specific time zone in their User Settings, all course dates and times will display in their local time. If they hover over the date and time, they can also see the course date and time.  

More Questions?